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Event Health and Safety.

Andy Robertson

Complying with Health and Safety requirements for your event may seem like a daunting task but most of it is common sense and with good planning you should have no problems satisfying all Health and Safety requirements

Health and Safety is covered in different ways for different countries so it is advisable to consult with any official government bodies to check what the requirements are for your jurisdiction. In the UK, for example, there is the Health and Safety Executive who provide guidance and enforcement of various related legislation.

HSE in UK have a site with listed guidance and regulations with an easy to follow process for planning events that includes: 

  • Creating a safety plan and risk assessment. 
  • Consulting employees and staff. 
  • Liaising with venues, local authorities and emergency services. 
  • Using competent contractors.
  • How to ensure employee welfare. 
  • Creation of emergency planning.

Before starting your event plan make sure that you are matching the venue to the anticipated crowd size and demographics. This will help you determine the suitability for managing access points and emergency exits. Is the venue prone to flooding or adverse weather and how close it located to emergency facilities if required? Assuming you select a suitable venue location for your event you should complete your Health and Safety plan with a Risk Assessment taking into account a multitude of factors including:  

  • Site Hazards, have power cables been suitably located to avoid trips and electrocution? 
  • Crowd management, are entrance and exits sufficiently manned to prevent crowd surge?  
  • Crew and contractor hazards, are site build and breakdown safety measures in place? 
  • First aid, have you set out first aid station locations, staffing and responsibilities? 
  • Weather hazards, have adverse conditions been anticipated with contingency plans in place? 
  • External environment factors that may affect wildlife like event garbage. 
  • Catering hazards, consider potential fire risks and the appropriate placement of fire extinguishers.    
As part of your planning and risk assessment create procedures for any potential emergencies including: 

  • Communication to staff and customers regarding any possible emergencies, who is responsible for communicating messages, what should be said and how will they be communicated?       
  • Emergency response and the emergency services, have plans been made with local emergency services in the event of an emergency? 
  • Crowd evacuation, in an emergency what are the processes for evacuating your visitors? Are exits clearly marked and easy to follow? 
  • First aid procedures, who are your designated First Aiders and do they have a process for managing incidents and recording any accidents?
  • Traffic management, liaise with local authorities and the police to ensure that visitors arriving and leaving by car do not cause unnecessary congestion. 

Ensure all parties involved are aware of the Health and Safety plans and procedures you have set up and that contractors, vendors, staff and artists are aware of these. Publish everything in an easy to access location and be prepared to respond to any concerns raised.

Be on hand during the entire length of the event to ensure your Health and Safety plans are implemented as expected. Using a software solution like FestivalPro can help manage your Health and Safety plans and Risk Assessments as details can be saved and shared with appropriate people. The guys who are responsible for this software have been in the front line of event management for many years and are performance artists themselves. Using a system like this can help with you keep on top of the Health and Safety requirements.  

Andy Robertson
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